One person one gun, Centre to amend Arms Act

Awinash Mandal

PATNA: A new firearm policy proposes to bar individuals, with few exceptions, from possessing more than one gun, down from three now, and introduce four different categories of offences that would attract jail term of 10 years besides a fine. Home ministry is planning to amend the Section 25 (1AA) of the Arms Act, 1959 and the bill is likely to be tabled in the winter session of the Parliament.

According to the draft bill, for manufacturing, selling, repairing and possessing ‘prohibited’ arms, one will get ‘imprisonment for the remainder’ of his or her life.

The minimum punishment under this section will be 14 years. As per the draft Arms (Amendment) Bill, anyone who is possessing more than one licensed gun will have to retain only one gun and deposit the others with the authorities, says a media report.

“Whoever uses firearms for celebratory gunfire or in a rash and negligent manner” shall be punished with two-year imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 1 lakh, the draft amendment bill says. Centre has planned to ban the practice of granting multiple licences to an individual.

However, only sportspersons can possess a third weapon (.22 calibre rifle), if they are “a dedicated sportsperson whose participation in shooting sports has been recognised in national or international events in the last two years…” Another report quoted a MHA official as saying that the proposed law covers areas like illegal trafficking of arms, tracking arms and their components from manufacturers to end users, organised crime, organised crime syndicates, and celebratory firing.

Jail term has been proposed to extend up to two years or fine up to Rs 1 lakh or both for those indulging in ‘celebratory gunfire’ which can endanger human life.

According to an estimate, India has a of around 35 lakh gun licences. It has been reported that the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has discussed the proposal amendments in the Arms Acr, with the home secretaries and police chief of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra.

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